Bill Pohlad’s new film Love and Mercy, which a title credit tells us is “based on the life of Brian Wilson,” is a valiant attempt to do a music biopic that sidesteps the clichés of the genre. And it mostly succeeds: even those (like myself) with no prior knowledge of Wilson’s story and only the most general level of familiarity with the music of the Beach Boys will find much to enjoy and appreciate here.
I can’t say that I’m in love with Fury Road, the latest chapter in George Miller’s Mad Max saga, but I respect it. The film has (somewhat improbably) taken much of the critics’ community by storm: after it premiered out of competition at Cannes last month it became the most talked-about film of the festival, and critics like Anne Thompson are predicting it will be an Oscar contender. I’d be surprised if a film this abrasive and loud is able to win over Academy voters, though. It’s a bruiser of a movie, a two-hour-long chase scene fitted out with bravura stunt work and touches of the bizarre. What it lacks in subtlety or intelligence it makes up for—almost—in sheer balls-out insanity.